A history of TEFL blogging Part One

UPDATE: List now includes most of people’s suggestions, and have also added a History of TEFL Blogs tag that you can follow to the many later posts on the topic.

TurklishTEFL was kind enough to publish a piece of fluff by me on the topic of teaching in the land where you can go from Ataturk to Ataturk without leaving Ataturk, and even kinder in suggesting that I was the first TEFL blogger. Far from it, you young whipper snapper, you! Ditto for Lindsay’s comment in the last post that I was some kind of TEFL blogging pioneer.

To put the record straight, I’m planning to draw up a chronological list of the history of TEFL online navel gazing. You can all contribute by adding the first posts etc of your own and other blogs, especially old and disappeared ones, in comments below.  Here are some major moments in the first few months of the three year history of TEFLtastic, to give you some ideas of things you could mention, plus some results of tracing back on the history of the blogs I read when I started out. I’ll also be interviewing various personalities from the early days of TEFL blogging, so you can volunteer yourself or nominate others for that too.

July 1999 – According to Aaron Campbell (see below), the start of free, commercially available blogging software

Some time in 2000 – Harry Hutton of Chase Me Ladies, I’m in the Cavalry fame includes TEFL stories on his Killer Facts website, later converted into a blog

Some time in 2001 – Simon Barne’s I Hate ESL website started, later to morph into the English Droid blog

February 2003 – Aaron Campbell writes on the topic of EFL blogging in ITESLJ

http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Campbell-Weblogs.html

9 July 2003 – first post on distinguished TEFL technology guru Graham Stanley’s blog-efl

http://blog-efl.blogspot.com/2003_07_01_archive.html

Some time in 2003- Start of the original English Teacher X site, later to include a spinoff blog

December 2003- Start of Teaching English in Korea- ESL blog:

http://www.esl-blog.com/archives/2003_12.html

30 April 2004 – First post on Chase Me Ladies, I’m in the Cavalry blog (not TEFL related)

18 January 2004- First post of EFL Geek

Some time in 2004 – First English Teacher X blog on Angelfire

January 2005 – First Sandy Macmanus blog on blog-city

April 2005 – First post of joint blog Dekita.org, whose main writers included TEFL blogging pioneers Aaron Campbell and Barbara Dieu (who wrote on it as recently as 2010)

16 June 2005- First post of English Teacher X’s present (blogspot) blog

http://englishteacherx.blogspot.com/2005/06/model-behavior.html

24 June 2005- First post on Jimbo’s English Teaching in Japan blog:

http://discussenglish.blogspot.com/2005/06/talk-to-current-english-teachers.html

7 September 2005- First proper post of the fabulous but obscure and now moved elsewhere Teacher in Development:

http://teacherindevelopment.blogsome.com/2005/09/07/ecstasy-in-the-classroom/

January 2006 – Sandy Macmanus’s first TEFL Blacklist blog/ site

31 August 2006- First post of long time leading TEFL blog TEFLlogue

http://www.tefllogue.com/about-tefl/why-tefl.html

Sept 2006- ELT Notebook first post:

http://eltnotebook.blogspot.com/2006/09/first-lessons-establishing-classroom.html

18 Feb 2007 – Insights into TEFL opens with the blog post below and 4 more on the first day! The next day there were 15!

http://insights-into-tefl.blogspot.com/2007/02/scoring-systems-for-students.html

23 February 2007 – First post on TEFL blogging superstar Jason Renshaw’s blog (though didn’t really take off till later – but boy did it do so then!)

http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/2007/02/kotesol_nationa.html

12 June 2007- First post on TEFLtastic

https://tefltastic.wordpress.com/tesol/welcome-to-tefl/

13 January 2008 – First post of leading TEFL blog of its time Six Things by Lindsay Clandfield

As that is a long time ago in online history, ideas on the most important things to happen since also gratefully received.

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20 Responses to A history of TEFL blogging Part One

  1. David V. says:

    I think I started a couple of months before you and am just about hanging in there. How about I finally send you that interview that you asked for almost a year ago?

  2. Alex Case says:

    That would fit in really nicely!

  3. Alex Case says:

    PS, if you can remember the exact date you started your original blog I’ll stick it in this list

  4. Alex Case says:

    7 September 2005- First proper post of the fabulous but now moved elsewhere Teacher in Development:

    http://teacherindevelopment.blogsome.com/2005/09/07/ecstasy-in-the-classroom/

  5. Alex Case says:

    December 2003- Start of Teaching English in Korea- ESL blog:

    http://www.esl-blog.com/archives/2003_12.html

  6. Alex Case says:

    24 June 2005- First post on Jimbo’s English Teaching in Japan blog:

    http://discussenglish.blogspot.com/2005/06/talk-to-current-english-teachers.html

  7. SandyM says:

    Hey, I started in January 2005, and I have the e-mails and downloads to prove it! Tefl Trade (version 1) was hosted by Blog City, and I’d still be there now if it wasn’t for a certain Tefl pariah’s efforts to hunt me down via his lawyers (I still have the e-mails to prove that, too!).

  8. Sandy says:

    Oh, and there’s my original TEFL Blacklist too – January 2006?

  9. Thanks for setting the record straight here. I guess I thought that, given the way Karenne Sylvester talks about you your blog must have started in 1980 or something. 🙂
    I remember Sandy’s blog also being one of the first I came across.

    My small chunk in the blog timeline:

    Six Things. First post January 13 2008.

  10. Anne Hodgson says:

    Thanks for this! Things really started snowballing in 2007. Now reading it all is a fulltime job. Hmmm… how about some sort of collaborative history chart?

  11. Alex Case says:

    Well, in 1980 I was spending a lot of time in my bedroom writing self indulgent poetry full of teenage angst, so that was the closest equivalent to blogging at the time…

  12. Alex Case says:

    I was going to set this up as a Wiki page so we all could work on it together, but then I thought “Well, I could work out how to do that. Or, I could do some paid work and start saving up for my daughter’s cram school fees”. So, it’s leave your info here in comments and wait for me to put them all together, I’m afraid

  13. Nice project, Alex. Can I add mine to the list? My first blog post on blog-efl was on July 9th 2003 (http://blog-efl.blogspot.com/2003_07_01_archive.html) – it’s been great watching the ELT blogosphere develop into the healthy animal it is today

  14. I think the real grandfathers of ELT blogging are Aaron Campbell and Jim Duber. Aaron’s classic article on weblogging that helped me and many others get started with students seems to have disappeared, but this one from May 2003 still exists and talks about the early attempts at EFL blogging: http://llt.msu.edu/vol7num2/emerging/default.html

    I do remember that there were few of us about trying to blog with students at this time. Apart from Aaron (blogging with university students in Japan) , Barbara Dieu in Brazil (secondary students) and Teresa Almeida D’Eca (primary learners) are the two notable examples I remember. You can follow links from my archive (listed above)

  15. I was wrong! Aaron Campbell’s great article still exists here: http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Campbell-Weblogs.html and is dated February 2003, which means he’s got to be the grandfather of TEFL blogging (unless you know better!). aaron writes about his project with students, which was obviously started sometime in 2002. I think you should definitely interview him.

  16. EFL Geek says:

    Have to agree with Graham that Aaron Campbell is the grandfather along with Barbara Dieu. Interesting post on the history of EFL blogging, thanks for mentioning me, even though I’ve quit the EFL blogging scene.

    Not done blogging though – I have started blogging at Repatriate Me! if anyone cares to follow my return to Canada after 15 years in South Korea.

  17. I am shocked to realise that my blog actually precedes yours, Mr. Case!

    My blog’s first post dates back to February 23, 2007 and features a plug for a national Teachers of Young Learners and Teenagers conference in Korea:

    http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/2007/02/kotesol_nationa.html

    Not sure if anyone actually read it, though!

    And following that, there were long periods of silence on the blog as I wondered why the hell I’d started it and just what one was supposed to do with it.

    So while it is beyond doubt that your blog precedes mine as one people actually came to read and comment on, I can now proudly claim to my children that I was about in the blogosphere before the great Alex Case!

    Finally, something to brag about this week…

    😉

    ~ J

  18. Wow, this is fascinating. I also got the impression you were one of the first from Mrs. Sylvester. I guess she has some questions to answer to. 🙂 I can’t believe how long some people have been at it. It sure seems to be exploding these days doesn’t it. There are new bloggers all the time and this whole recommend 10 blogs thing has really been adding to my RSS subscriptions. It’s too much.

    Great project!

  19. lex Case says:

    UPDATE: List now includes most of people’s suggestions, and have also added a History of TEFL Blogs tag that you can follow to the many later posts on the topic:
    https://tefltastic.wordpress.com/tag/history-of-tefl-blogs/

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